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How Michael Jordan Learned From His Losses

Michael Jordan’s drive to be the best helped him overcome many obstacles in his career. Jordan kept coming at his opponents until he won. He always used the frustration and anger to become stronger.

The Bulls Were Outmuscled in 1990

In ‘Michael Jordan: The Life,’ Roland Lazenby provides great insight into how Jordan dealt with the Detroit Pistons eliminating the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year.

“Furious with his teammates, Jordan cursed them yet again at halftime, then sobbed in the back of the team bus afterward. “I was crying and steaming,” he recalled.

“I was saying, ‘Hey, I’m out here busting my butt and nobody else is doing the same thing. These guys are kicking our butt, taking our heart, taking our pride.’ I made up my mind right then and there it would never happen again.

That was the summer that I first started lifting weights. If I was going to take some of this beating, I was also going to start dishing out some of it. I got tired of them dominating me physically.”


More About ‘Michael Jordan: The Life’

Published by Little, Brown and Company in 2014, ‘Michael Jordan: The Life’ is the definitive Michael Jordan biography. This book provides a detailed, extensive look into Jordan’s will to win and competitiveness.

Lazenby told me in May what he enjoyed the most about writing ‘Michael Jordan: The Life’:

“What I enjoy about all my books, my emotional relationship with the research, all the interviews and research and conversations, the process of turning all the moments and actions of my subject over and over again in my mind.”

When Everything Changed

The Pistons played MJ as physical as possible, forcing outside shots and making his teammates beat them. Whenever Jordan cut to the basket, the Pistons bodied him, especially in the fourth quarter. The result was another playoff exit against the Bad Boys of the NBA.

During the offseason, Michael Jordan started working with Tim Grover, a sports enhancement specialist. MJ was very serious about his weight training and added 15 pounds of muscle.

Jordan made one of the weaknesses in his game a strength. That latest loss to the Pistons fueled him and he committed to doing something about it.

In 1991, the Bulls dominated the Pistons, sweeping them in four games to reach their first NBA Finals and beat the Lakers to win the first of six championships.

Jordan’s willingness to learn from his losses made it all possible.

Eduardo Solano